Are Athletes Good Candidates for LASIK?

By Gordon Wong, OD on November 11, 2015

A group of basketball players under the net, including one who just underwent LASIKOn the one hand, LASIK may seem like a natural solution for athletes with refractive errors. What athlete wouldn’t want to participate in his or her sport without having to worry about wearing cumbersome glasses or contact lenses? On the other hand, athletes depend on their vision for their livelihoods. While modern custom LASIK is one of the safest surgeries a person can undergo, is it worth even the slight risk for a professional or semi-professional athlete?

Obviously, the decision whether to undergo LASIK is a highly personal one for each individual athlete. Generally, however, athletes who are good candidates for the procedure can consider LASIK a safe and worthwhile investment in their vision, one that could potentially help them advance in their careers. There are special considerations that athletes should bear in mind before committing to LASIK surgery, some of which we will discuss in this blog post. Our eye care professionals would be more than happy to discuss in further detail the issues relevant to LASIK for athletes during a consultation with you at our San Diego, CA clinic. Simply contact our practice, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Special Considerations for Athletes

Modern LASIK truly is one of the safest surgical procedures in medicine. This is largely because of the wavefront mapping technology used to measure visual errors prior to surgery. This technology allows our doctors to identify and correct even the tiniest imperfections in the shape of the cornea, known as higher-order aberrations. In correcting these higher-order aberrations, we not only increase the chances that patients will emerge with exceptional vision, but reduce the odds of post-surgical complications and side effects.

Nevertheless, even the best candidates for LASIK must understand the risks associated with the surgery before committing to undergo the procedure. In addition to these, athletes face special circumstances that may not affect the non-athlete, at least to the same degree. For example:

  • Flap complications: The most common post-surgical complications associated with LASIK involve the flap created in the outermost layer of the cornea. Athletes should expect to take at least a couple of weeks off from their sport of choice to avoid injury to their eyes and to avoid the sweat, dirt, and other irritants that could cause them to rub their eyes, thereby disturbing their corneal flaps. For this reason, it is best that athletes consider undergoing LASIK during the off-seasons from their sports.
  • REM (rapid eye movement): Many athletes experience REM while participating in sports, which can cause stress and therefore injuries to their eyes during the healing phase. Again, this is a good reason for athletes to undergo LASIK during the off-seasons from their sports.
  • The need for retreatment: Some athletes experience some residual refractive error that requires retreatment in order to achieve the best possible results. This would force the athlete to take additional time off from his or her sport.

Learn More about LASIK for Athletes

To learn more about LASIK for athletes, we invite you to contact GW Eye Associates Inc. today.

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